The Columns

W&L Honors Distinguished Young Alumni

— by on November 10th, 2015

Washington and Lee University honored four members of the Class of 2005 with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award during Young Alumni Weekend, Oct. 23–24. Brent Beshore, Emily Wolfing, Kiersten Salander and Thomas Worthy were each honored for their service to the university and to their professions.

Brent Beshore was honored for his continued support of the university and impressive entrepreneurial accomplishments. While at W&L, he was an active member of Lambda Chi Alpha and was inducted into the national leadership society Omicron Delta Kappa. He graduated with a B.A. in politics, and attended the University of Missouri in the J.D./M.B.A. program.

In 2007, he founded his first startup and established adventur.es, a private equity firm. The firm has started, acquired or funded over 60 companies, providing marketing resources, strategic planning and operations management to main street organizations in media, technology, recruitment and software. It was ranked #28 on the 2011 Inc. Magazine list of the fastest-growing companies, based on a three-year growth rate of over 6,000 percent and the addition of 58 new jobs.

His other full-time job is community involvement. Beshore has been chairman of the marketing committee for the Boys and Girls Club board of directors, a member of the United Way board of directors and the marketing subcommittee, a member of the University Club board of directors, and founder of Good Hope Educational Initiative, a non-profit focused on education issues in South Africa. In 2011, Beshore created a Facebook page, Joplin, Missouri, Tornado Recovery, designed in part to raise funds for the Heart of Missouri United Way. The page helped to raise $1.7 million. He currently serves on Washington and Lee’s Shepherd Poverty advisory board, designed to address the problems associated with poverty.

As a result of his entrepreneurial success and community involvement, Beshore has won a number of awards. He received a 2012 American Express Open Forum 10 under 30 Award, a 2011 Heart of VAC award for community service, a 2012 Fast Track Award from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, and was included in the Columbia Business Times’ 2009 20 under 40 list of future leaders. In addition, he was nominated for a VH1 Do Something Award for his tornado relief efforts, coming in second to Lady Gaga.

Emily Wolfing was honored for her support of the university and her impressive career in national defense. While at W&L, she was an active member and president of Kappa Alpha Theta, co-captain of the women’s volleyball team and was inducted into the national leadership society Omicron Delta Kappa. She graduated with a B.S. in mathematics and physics, and went on to earn her M.S. in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Since 2012, Wolfing has been at Hardwire LLC, which develops, designs and manufactures armor solutions for a variety of military and commercial applications. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hardwire supplied the armor kits for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles that saved the lives of thousands of soldiers. The company also armors bridges around the U.S. to protect them against terrorist threats.

Wolfing also helped patent the bulletproof whiteboard, which is used in schools, government and commercial buildings to provide protection against active shooters. She is the president and COO at Hardwire.

Previously, she worked as a technical support contractor to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in both the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) and Strategic Technology Office in the areas of applied physics, materials science and systems engineering. In particular, Wolfing supported the development of all DARPA lightweight armor systems for military vehicles, military personnel and maritime platforms. This included overseeing the development of new technologies and production methods, and transitioning new technologies to users in the military and other government organizations.

Providing direct support to the director of DSO, Wolfing worked on DARPA Special Access Programs to help facilitate technology development and transition new capabilities. She was also responsible for coordinating and executing the Congressional and VIP briefings for the DSO director.

For the Department of Homeland Security, Wolfing performed research on a cargo inspection program to determine the feasibility of remote fissile material detection. She used and managed execution of Department of Energy Monte Carlo nuclear physics models, as well as assisted in management activities associated with performing materials experiments at international particle accelerator facilities.

Kiersten Salander was honored for her continued support of the university and remarkable business accomplishments. While at W&L, she was a member of the Williams Investment Society and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and graduated with a B.S. in business administration. Since graduation, she has been an important player in strengthening the university’s New York City alumni chapter, boosting attendance and growing the NYC Fancy Dress Ball event.

Salander is currently the deputy chief of staff to the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the leading global provider of financial data, analytics, news and media. In this capacity, she collaborates on key internal initiatives, corporate communications and strategic partnerships and has worked with Bloomberg colleagues and clients in over 30 countries. Prior to Bloomberg, she worked in account management at Ogilvy & Mather.

In addition to her work at Bloomberg, Salander chairs the steering committee of the U.S. 30% Club, a group of chairmen and CEOs committed to driving better gender balance throughout their organizations, with a near-term focus on female representation in senior leadership. The Club launched in June 2014 with a target of achieving 30 percent female non-executive directors on S&P 500 company boards by 2020. Today, there are over 50 chairmen and CEO members, including Warren Buffett, Muhtar Kent, Sheryl Sandberg and Larry Fink.

Salander is also a World Economic Forum strategy officer, representing Bloomberg in the Media Entertainment and Information Industry group, as well as a member of the Executive Women’s Council and W.O.M.E.N. in America.

Thomas Worthy was honored for his continued support of the university and contributions to the criminal justice system. While at W&L,  he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Student Body, Mock Convention Executive Committee, Sigma Chi fraternity and Kathekon, a student organization designed to enhance communication within the university and with alumni. He graduated with a B.A. in politics and sociology and was the first recipient of the Cullum Owings Memorial Fellowship, which is awarded to students who are “articulate, thoughtful and of outstanding personal integrity.”

Worthy has remained actively involved with the university by serving as Class Agent for the last decade, as a committee member for his 5th Reunion, as co-chair of his 10th Reunion committee, as a member of the alumni chapter boards of Washington, Birmingham and Atlanta, and as an Alumni Admissions volunteer.

Following his time at W&L, Worthy served on the senior staff of the late Congressman Charlie Norwood. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and subsequently worked as a litigator for the law firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham, Alabama.

He then became deputy executive counsel to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, advising the governor on legal matters and judicial appointments as well as spearheading the governor’s criminal justice reform and reinvestment initiatives.

Worthy currently is director of governmental and external affairs for the state bar of Georgia, and chairman of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform. In these roles, he works to uphold the lawyer’s professional responsibility to improve the practice of law, to ensure access to justice for all Georgia citizens, and to repair the historic damage done by unjust and disparate criminal sentencing.

W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio presented the awards to Beshore, Wolfing, Salander and Worthy in a ceremony in Washington Hall on Friday, Oct. 23.